Helping Your Clients Through Change

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

These now famous lines by Barack Obama perfectly sum up the problem of making changes in our lives. Years can go by with us longing for change, but being unable or unwilling to do anything about it unless it’s ‘presented’ to us on a plate. Sadly, this isn’t how life works. To make changes in life always means leaving fear behind, and having the courage to embrace something new.

Resistance to change is something career coaches come across over and over again. A client will often desperately want change, but remain unable to move forward without support. Conversely, sometimes even encountering a career coach can harden client opposition to change. Yet it’s worth remembering that they are behaving entirely rationally. It’s not human nature to make changes that we view as harmful to our current situation. So the first step in helping clients embrace and step forward into change, is to get to the bottom of why they find change so threatening. It could be conscious or unconscious, but identifying the fears surrounding change enables you to move the client forward into approaching change more positively. If you find this frustrating as a therapist, remember that resistance lessens over time as you explore the issues, and that understanding the real reasons for any conflict with change will help bring about a breakthrough in understanding.

What Life Coaches Can Learn from New Year’s Resolutions

As we start the New Year, most people will have made some sort of resolutions for creating change in their lives. Sadly though, all those good intentions rarely last. Around only 9 per cent of people stick to them! So what’s the problem with making New Year’s Resolutions? Well, this is something life coaches deal with every day. And as any life coach knows, being too ambitious and failing to identify realistic goals is the most common reason for the failure of those resolutions. In most cases, failing is also counterproductive, deepening the sense that nothing of any value can be achieved.

So as in life, any resolution must be feasible. It’s important to clearly define why the changes will help, how to put them into practice, and how to define success. Losing weight for example is a worthy resolution, but without setting a plan of action, breaking it down to meet clear milestones, and having a clear outcome, (such as losing one stone within three months) then any efforts are doomed to failure.

Commitment is also important, and a positive attitude to achieving goals is fundamental to making any changes in life. Setting negative thoughts aside and replacing them with a positive internal narrative is easier said than done for many, but as a life coach you can help clients to replace those negative future scenarios with more empowering ones. Ultimately, changing the way we think can be far more effective than those resolutions themselves!

Why Relaxation Techniques are So Important in CBT

Learning how to relax the body is one of the most important techniques you will learn when training to become a cognitive behavioural therapist. A helpful part of therapy, relaxation techniques are often performed on people suffering from extreme levels of anxiety, stress and depression. The aim is not to rid the body of anxiety (as in manageable amounts it’s a good thing), but rather to help patients to manage their feelings and ride them out.

Calm Breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Patients suffering from stress and anxiety, are often taught how to slow their breathing, and progressively relax their muscles.

Calm Breathing – This is a strategy that can help patients to calm down quickly. Feelings of anxiousness often increase breathing rates, which can lead to patients feeling lightheaded and dizzy – two things that can increase anxiety further. Teaching patients to breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth can lower their breathing rates, and feelings of anxiety.

Muscle Relaxation – This therapy involves encouraging patients to tense their muscles, and then fully relax them. Not only does it help with overall tension and stress levels, but it can also help patients to understand when they are experiencing stress.

As a therapist, it is important to be able to help patients with their individual problems. By being aware of bodily sensations, and the recommended practice exercises that can help patients to relax, you will be able to coach people much more effectively.

The Process of Challenging Thoughts in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Challenging thoughts – also known as cognitive restructuring – is a process in which patients are taught to challenge the negative thinking patterns that lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, and replace them with realistic, yet positive, thoughts. Therapists often perform this type of therapy during CBT sessions, so it is important to know what is involved.

Identifying Negative Thoughts

The first thing a patient needs to do is identify what is making them feel anxious. Quite often, these fears and anxieties are things that have been blown out of proportion – germ phobias for example. Therapists will need to be able to guide their patients to see what makes them anxious, and perhaps help them understand why.

Challenging Negative Thoughts

The next step is to challenge the negative thoughts. As a therapist, you will teach your patient how to evaluate their anxiety. You may need to actively carry out experiments in which the patient is placed in a situation that makes them uncomfortable, in order to overcome the negativity. In other cases you may need to help the patient realise that the chances of the thing they are anxious about happening is very small.

Replacing Negative Thoughts with Realistic Thoughts

Finally, you will be responsible for helping your patients come up with thoughts that are positive and realistic. You may want to come up with some calming statements that your patients can repeat to themselves when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Replacing negative thoughts with more realistic ones isn’t an easy process for a patient to go through, so as a therapist, you need to remain calm and patient as you help them through the steps.

How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help Staff Handle Stress

Mental illness and stress are responsible for over half of the sick days that staff take every year, and unfortunately much of this stress is caused in the workplace itself. So, if there was a way to tackle stress in the workplace, wouldn’t you want to find out more? Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of coaching that can help people to deal with anxiety and stress, reducing the amount of sick days that they take each year.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT involves coaching people through their difficulties, by getting them to change the way they think about negative situations. Instead of letting negative thoughts make you feel anxious or stressed, you are taught to swap the negativity for positive, realistic thoughts, which lower your anxiety and stress levels. For the estimated eight million people in the workplace that are experiencing mental health problems, CBT can be an effective treatment.

CBT Coaching Courses

Whilst you could bring in a therapist to help your staff, it could cost a lot of money to offer CBT on a regular basis. Instead, you, as a business owner, can enrol on a six weekend course in which you will learn all about the therapy methods required to help your staff. Not only will you learn how to reduce stress and anxiety, but you will also learn how to motivate and encourage people to reach their goals. The myriad benefits are well worth the time it takes to earn your diploma.

How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Help Small Business Owners

If you run a small business, it’s likely that you work long hours and also have to deal with a lot of stress each week. For some small business owners, this stress can become unmanageable, and it’s not uncommon for people to believe that their business’ development is being kept behind due to their anxieties and struggles in adopting a positive business mindset.

Luckily, this is a position that you can get yourself out of. And, enrolling on a cognitive behavioural therapy course could be the answer.

Who Can a CBT Coaching Course Help?

If you are a small business owner, and any of the following resonate with you, a CBT coaching course could be the answer:

You run a passion-orientated or creative business, and you find the organisational aspects of running a business hard

Even though you know work is causing you to feel stressed, you still feel unable to say no when you are asked to take on more

You let personal fears override business decisions, which you know make sense. For example, you avoid giving negative feedback to staff for fear of upsetting them

Fears or doubts about your own abilities in business are starting to prevent you from progressing your business to the next level

You just don’t see yourself as a natural businessman/woman and this is causing extreme levels of stress or anxiety

A CBT coaching course will help you learn methods that can improve the way you think about the running of your business. It will also enable you to coach others that you work with, and help them overcome stress and anxiety in the workplace as well.

Coaching yourself to Coach!

If you remember the story of the cobbler who had no shoes, then you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say that as a life coach, you’ll also need to coach yourself!

Although you might now have settled on the career you really want to do, areas you might need to coach yourself around include; building a successful business, deciding on a speciality or how to promote your expertise, and having the confidence to believe in your ability.

So it’s a good idea to put some of the coaching tools you’ve learned into practice, to walk yourself into your new occupation. Try and identify the stumbling blocks you’re coming up against, and inspire yourself into action. Establish some clarity on where you want to be in a year, ask yourself what you can do to fix any problems, and set yourself some SMART goals. If, for instance, you’re having trouble with your marketing campaign, could it be that you don’t yet feel ready to coach alone? Once you recognise this, you can start to set goals for your marketing campaign, and move forward with finding clients.

Starting out in any new business can be scary, and most especially when you’re meant to have all the answers. So it’s also worth remembering that your experience can be valuable to your clients. Keep a journal of how you’re feeling, and how you’re moving through any fears, to help you empathise and manage clients in the same position. In one year’s time, you’ll find you’re only looking back for your clients!